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Discussion Starter #1
Hello old friends.

MERRY CHRISTMAS!


I'm still enjoying the luxuries of this salubrious Transit Life, now under an old oak tree in Brunswick Junction, around 150km (93mls) south of Perth, the capital of Western Australia.



This is because it is summertime here, and coping with the hot weather in a commercial Transit with only half the roof-lining yet installed is quite enough to warm the old blood even more than one might hope. In theory it is cooler weather 650km (403mls) south of where I was a couple of months ago. In practice it is still rather hot this week. Sunshine on my shoulder makes me happy, ye but sunshine on my Transit makes me feel rather hot and sweaty, so parking here right by the east side of the tree-trunk is quite imperative for a little more circadian vitality.



The $19.95 AUD Chinese LCD thermometer I bought last month is telling me that it is 34.3*C (93.4*F), which is cooler than yesterday, when it reached 37.8*C (100.4*F) in here. This is under the shade of the oak tree. If we park in the sunshine, the heat radiates through the roof , making it like an oven in here. I couldn't provide an exact temperature because I have not been brave enough to drive out in the sun and take a reading, but I would estimate upwards of 45*C (113*F) if not more, based on the feel of the steel roof back in October in the sun when it was only 30*C (86*F). Sometimes it is too hot to touch with a finger for more than a few seconds.

This is definitely a good reason to install a roof-rack of some kind and cover the entire roof with solar panels if not just a canvas tarpaulin or something. It's on the shopping list although by the time I get the money for those things it will be winter again, so likely next summer. This summer I'll just have to tough it out. Tonight will be the 150th night of Transit Life, so shall I live and learn.



I hope that everyone else who has been my friend in 2018 has a merry and memorable Christmas; not too cold; and may your 2019 be even more glorious than the year just about to end.

Thanks for all your help and tolerance in 2018.
 

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Nice to hear you're still alive, Seano! You made it through the winter despite the alarming vagaries of your gas heat setup.

I looked up Brunswick Junction on google. This google stuff is amazing. Surprised to see the caravan park come up first on the suggestions.

I can just about see Speed on satellite view. It's a small park. Not too many campers. And it all looks quite green with a lot of trees despite the 113 deg. Maybe the satellite went over during spring.

You really can't go much further south before hitting ocean again. I see huge forests to the east. It must be cooler in there. And cooler mountains further east. You prefer civilization though?
 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
Many Thanks, Mr Baja-Herbie. That's a curious number; 553 on the side of the Beetle. I guess it's like an air-cooled adaptation of 555 at first glance, to authenticate with the ubiquitous 53. I see that the genius goes much further than just the sign-writing.

Have yourself a Wonderful Christmas and Happy New Year!

Thank you for your wishes from Oklahoma.


PS: I just noticed, even your post count has a '53' in it! That is just phenomenal!
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
Nice to hear you're still alive, Seano! You made it through the winter despite the alarming vagaries of your gas heat setup.
Merry Christmas Mate! Now I understand why the subconscious allusion to John Denver yesterday. You must have been on my mind.

I should have forseen this back in the cold weather, shouldn't I? It is much easier to wear thick woolly socks and a jumper to keep warm in the cold than it is to keep cool in the hot weather. One can only indulge in so many cold showers in a day before the park management start to gripe over the water usage. They say the river is nice for a swim, but I have heard stories of angry tiger-snakes attacking locals in that river too, so I am a bit afraid to venture in there, personally.

I've taken a couple of shots of the progress of the roof-lining project which I shall add below. I have postponed further work until the end of the year so that I can know when the next Full Moon is, but you'll need to check the photos carefully to understand why that is. (Actually last night was the last Full Moon of the year down here, but why waste a good astrological calendar before its time?)

I hope that things are going well for you and your Transit, family and friends in Colorado. That the new year gets off to a good start after the celebrations are over.

I looked up Brunswick Junction on google. This google stuff is amazing. Surprised to see the caravan park come up first on the suggestions.

I can just about see Speed on satellite view. It's a small park. Not too many campers. And it all looks quite green with a lot of trees despite the 113 deg. Maybe the satellite went over during spring.
It's about the only place still open in this town, apart from (ed. the pub and), the Caltex station across the river. That might be why google sees a profit in it, considering the available alternatives.

It does have quite a good reputation amongst those in the know around here. It is still a privately-owned and run enterprise, yet to be incorporated by the any of the national tourist factory franchises. Daryl and Tanya are the owners now, and I have taken a photo of Daryl on his ride-on lawnmower this morning after I read your reply regarding the green vegetation herein. He is largely the reason that the grass gets very well watered from the water pumped up from the river. If the river or Daryl ever dry up, the grass will never live through another summer.

Anyway, you inspired me to don my FujiFilm SLR and take a walk around the park with my photographer's hat on this morning, for a total of forty-one(41) useable shots which I have edited and downsized to the 1024x768 web-friendly dimensions, and then uploaded to my website. I will add them with appropriate captions in some posts to come, if the admin' don't mind my overdoing it a little on Christmas Eve.

I first stumbled on this little oasis back in the summer of 2002, riding a 10-speed Raleigh bicycle and single-wheel trailer down from Perth to Albany on the south coast. It has been one of the few to always remain in my good memories of those cycling days. Tents are cooler than Transits in the summer, so I have discovered. At least this big old tree makes up for the unfinished roof-lining for the moment.

The idea of the roof-lining is to minimise the number of holes drilled in Speed's sacred flesh, so I have purchased four(4) 3000x12x12mm aluminium angled-lengths to run lengthwise along the roof, mostly attached to mounting holes already there. Then there are sixty(60) 600x20x1mm drilled lengths called 'Make-A-Bracket' which are much like Meccano for the cross-pieces - soft and easy to bend with a couple of pairs of pliers. A big roll of something they call Earth-Wool for the insulating bulk, and so far only six square 500x500x10mm black rubber mats which I found on the side of the road last month, (I found twenty(20) - the perfect number for the job, but stuck fourteen(14) of them in storage in Perth before I worked out what use they might be for, only bringing half-a-dozen with me on this southern, summer expedition thinking only that they might make nice disposable door mats at first, and now I can't find where I stored the other 14 of them). Instead I have bought four(4) of those pictured white 2000x500mm rolls of lining for $5.00 AUD and together they all seem to keep the fluffy Earth-Wool from blowing away when I drive down the country highways at high speed with the windows down.

You really can't go much further south before hitting ocean again. I see huge forests to the east. It must be cooler in there. And cooler mountains further east. You prefer civilization though?
The weather does seem to change, albeit only slightly cooler as one passes south of a little town called Cowaramup (lat. 33.8500*S) heading towards the popular tourist town of Margaret River. Cowaramup is 104.8km (65.1mls) south of here on the highway, and I once supposed in 2002 that there was some tectonic fault-line right around there, which made the weather a little cooler and the sky a little darker blue. It seems that google has now decided that that fault-line doesn't exist anymore in 2018, because I did run a search on it a few months ago, and found nothing.

There is though a noticable deepening of the blue in the skies south of Cowaramup to a more steel blue hue than what we enjoy north of there, and it is generally a little cooler too.

As for heading east, there are forests, but not the kind of mountains you have in Colorado. Bluff Knoll near Albany is the highest peak we have in the south-west of the state at 1,099m, (3,606 ft). Occasionally they have snow there in the winter. In general, the coastal areas are the coolest because of the strong winds from the ocean in the afternoons, and anywhere east of here is just hotter and hotter. Not to worry though. It is truly not too bad here yet, and I do hope to finish the roof-lining before the real hot summer days tend to begin in mid- to late-January.

Let's see if I can remember how to link the two photos of the just-started roof-lining and the half-finished status I now live under. Then I'll add the other thirty-nine(39) photos I prepared and uploaded this morning, of the Brunswick Junction Caravan Park.

Thanks again for replying in the Off-Topic subforum, Eiko. I have always appreciated our discussions through the year, and am very glad that you are still active on this forum.





Here is a snapshot of the beginnings of Speed the Turtle's roof-lining to illustrate the bits involved.




This is as far as I have progressed to date, because I don't think it is good manners to cover my astrological moon calendar until after the date has passed. There is enough bad karma around in this world without asking for more of it.



I will now add some new posts with photos of the Brunswick Junction Caravan Park, taken this morning. They maybe of no use to anyone, but if you ever find yourself in south-west Western Australia, then this is quite a nice little place to park a Transit or even a caravan, or pitch a tent for that matter.

(Ed. Brunswick Junction is also quite conveniently located to civilisation in three directions, each around 20km (12.43mls) from Harvey to the north, Bunbury to the south, and Eaton to the south-west.)



There are also reasonably priced, traditional Australian pub rooms for rent in the hotel across the river. I once stayed the night there with my girlfriend in 2003, and they do nice meals thesedays, according to Tanya here at the caravan park (trailer park).

 

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Discussion Starter #6



Here is the South-Western Highway, looking north on the way out of town from the entrance to the Brunswick Junction Caravan Park (BJCP). After that gentle left-hander, there is another right-hand bend quite similar, and the speed limit increases from 60km/h (37mph) to 80km/h (50mph).


Late one Wednesday night a couple of weeks ago, three young men in their twenties were heading south, presumably at the national speed limit (110km/h = 68mph) and for one reason or another, the driver never slowed down coming into town, and missed the first corner off in the distance, driving straight across and off the road up in the distance in that photo, into the trees on the far left of photo, severely injuring himself and killing his friend in the front passenger seat. The friend in the back seat was released from hospital without injury.

If that white Holden Commodore, (GM / Opel / Vauxhall full-sized 6-cyl or V8) had made that first corner and then missed the right-hander in the photo looking like a left-hander from the south, he would have ploughed straight into yours truly, sound asleep in his Turtle.





We had a little rain last weekend, over a week ago, so there is just a little green grass living off the runoff from up on the highway, but other than that, it is now quite dry in the summer here in the south-west.


 

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Discussion Starter #7



Now looking south down the highway to the entrance of the BJCP as the highway curves to the right and crosses the bridge over the river, (stream? brook? creek?).




Christmas decorations were erected on November 24th, for commercial reasons, of course.




There was a Christmas-time pop song by Rolf Harris in the early '70s about Santa Claus trading in his reindeers for kangaroos in Australia, because the reindeers would never have handled the heat down here in summer.

The Australian government have blocked access to the music site since sometime in September, and Mr Harris is not generally looked upon with the same respect he used to get by the media anymore, but the USA is a much more liberated country than this one, and so the URL is probably still permitted from your location. Otherwise, there's always the trusty old Tor network.

Merry Christmas! The Australian Christmas Song, Six White Boomers.

https://musicpleeer.com/#!6e5b11a37f637f573413ff4f930f85f0




See how there is not a lot of protection for guests of this park situated under the oak tree if anything larger than a 4-cylinder compact runs off the road.


 

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There we are. We've moved even further around to the east, (left of photo) over the weekend attempting to utilise every bit of canopy that the oak tree can offer, especially even at sunset. Yesterday was our longest day of the year, and today is hardly expected to be anything noticably shorter.


(That's my red bath-towel hanging off the LH mirror.)





From another angle to better encapsulate the size of the oak tree. If you notice that concrete hardstand there where the chair and sulo-bin are now, that is what we were parked beside last month, when the weather was not so hot and I was using the concrete to empty the gear out, clean the rug and sweep out the floors. Now the heat is too strong to park there after around 3pm.




A nice little nook to tuck into, providing there is no hard work to be done for the festive season.




---oo0oo---


 

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Discussion Starter #9



Such a highly-advanced establishment boasting the very latest in modern technology by rural Australian measures! They even have CCTV here!

(No free Wi-Fi yet but I'll see what I can do about it next year if I stick around.)




Main Street.

(Mr Claus has to fulfil his festive duties here in the Antipodes before engaging in those for the more populated timezones.)





Backstreets (if you'll forgive me for yet another Sprinsgteen reference.)




Frontage Road, along beside the highway.




The Main Office,
(note CCTV galore!)




My closest neighbour, currently under renovation so I can play my piano at a decent volume, (before 6pm that is), and nobody complains about it!





Amenities Block - Permanent Residents. Ladies on the left, gentlemen on the right.




Take a walk down Main Street towards the river.
 

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Discussion Starter #10



Amenities Block - Tourists. Gender Equality.

(We long-termers know the 4-digit code to get in the door if someone else is using our only single shared WC or shower.)






The river, (stream?, brook?, creek?). Theoretically, one could do what fish do in it, or else just take a swim if you want to.

Snakes have been reported on occasions.




Looking across to the foot-bridge.




Viewed from the foot-bridge back upstream to the railway-bridge.




Peeking under the railway-bridge up the river. Australian citizens are prohibited from trespassing under the railway-bridge without authorisation, on penalty of fines or imprisonment. That is what those two signs under the bridge at centre-left of picture are telling us. Peeking is currently still permitted for the time being, unless they haven't gotten around to changing those signs over yet.

No idea on the photographs. That's probably illegal now too ;-).




Looking down the river from the foot-bridge.




Back upriver at the little falls after the foot-bridge, taken from the bank.




The traffic bridge downstream from the foot-bridge, taken from the bank.
 

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Discussion Starter #11


The pump that pumps the water from the river to the sprinklers.
(this is why it looks so green from the Google satellite, Eiko.)




The sprinkler that sprinkles the water that the pump pumps from the river on the grass to keep it green and happy.




The man who turns on the pump and moves the sprinklers to pump the water from the river on the grass to make it green and happy.
(No children, he is not really Santa Claus in disguise. It's just the beard.)
 

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Discussion Starter #12


Behold the Brunswick Junction Riviera!
(big bikkies brother)




---oo0oo---




My goodness! What's that in the distance? In the red box?




Is it a Chevy?





Is it a Subaru?






Heck no, buddy! Why that there is Speed the Turtle! Seano's Ford Transit!

MERRY CHRISTMAS !!!
 

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Warmest holiday wishes to you (seems to have a different meaning to those down under), and Speed certainly has a festive look when decorated with the red towel. The van blends right in with St. Nick and his jolly Roos.

I'm in Oz over the Christmas holidays, though not your Oz, but NW Arkansas to ride mountain bike trails. They have dubbed these "Oz Trails" for whatever reason. Temps in the 40F-55F over the next few days. I consider this air-conditioned riding.

Great to see your updates and I hope the shade tree helps take the edge off the heat. Maybe you can splash around in the shallower parts of that creek in order to keep an eye out for snakes a little easier.
 

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I thought christmas was in July in Australia?

Nice pics, I can barely see all the venomous snakes and spiders in them!

Happy holidays from the American woods!
 

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Seano,

As I read your posts today, (12/24 , 1045 AM in AZ) i realized it is already Christmas morning in your home. Merry Christmas !!
We just have a few more shopping hours till we celebrate :D

Semper Fi
 

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I am spending today trying to avoid going down into the shop. My son and I put one panel on the roof last night, really wanted to get the other two on, but there is cooking to do, and presents to wrap, and family to spend time with. Time to put the obsession aside LOL.

Merry Christmas to SeanO and all of you. May you have a vantastic Christmas!
 

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Good Happy Christmas Morning (in advance) and thank you all for your replies, your good wishes, and the likes, thanks Asdrew too.



If I recall it was Travlin who may have been a significant part in my inspiration back in July, (when the season matched the northern hemisphere greetings, within a month). I might be confused on identities here. It could have been someone else whose username begins with a 'T', but you may have given a positive angle to van life, of the Nike kind: Just do it! Live it.



So that's what I did, and I have no regrets. I guess we learn the most from experience, and not necessarily all good experience either. In my haste to escape the chains of another twelve month lease I paid my entire attention to the electrical engineering and what kind of arrangement of the furniture I could adopt to fit the most stuff in here, (including the *BBGEB in the back 58cm behind the wheel-arches). Never any serious thought was given to the weather-proofing in that rushed effort half a year ago.



Now I have learned about Transit Life in the cool weather, (I will not call it cold because there was no snow, and never below freezing point, so it was never cold. You blokes would laugh if I wrote that). I am also learning a lot about the hot weather now, which I forcast that I will inevitably refer to as the warm weather by the time Valentine's Day arrives.



It has just been such a great challenge, and such a small budget, that such matters of weather were never allowed much consideration. There has been minimal suffering, more from the heat than the cool, but besides surviving the weather, what I am most thankful for has been the reliability of the old diesel, and the Transit mechanicals.

What have we had? One blown tyre. I replaced two so as to match all five profiles, (inc. spare). A cracked front windscreen, most likely from the heat from the sunshield stuck on the inside before I learned that this is what has been known to cause windscreens to crack, and then there was an oil change and new filter, 1,813km (1,127ml) after the 250,000km (155,376ml) due date. He's never actually used a single drop of oil in eight(8) months. Coolant has had one single little teeny-weeny topup which was not really needed except I needed some justification for having painstakingly opened the bonnet (hood).



There has not been a single further mechanical problem with this Transit Van. Even the pretend automatic with the automatic clutch and shifter is still operational, and more predictable now I have learned when to tap the little + & - buttons on the steering wheel to change to manual-shift on the long drives (>50km or 30ml).



The rear brakes are now operating perfectly, without the locked back wheels and skids that I was encountering in the wet winter weather with an empty van. That's one problem that seems to have miraculously fixed itself by having a whole lot of weight loaded into the back.



All in all, it makes my weather problems rather insignificant, taken in context of the whole expedition. As they say in the movies, It wasn't so bad.



I thought christmas was in July in Australia?

Nice pics, I can barely see all the venomous snakes and spiders in them!

Happy holidays from the American woods!

Hey Bill! Merry Christmas! It is great to catch up after so long. Thank you for mentioning those spiders. I forgot to include that yesterday. Another thing I have learned is that spiders love oak trees. This tree is full of them.

They bite, and it hurts, and leaves red welts all over my body, but they don't mean too much hurt. They just like to keep their poor little cold blooded bodies warm in the cool of the evening, and as luck would have it, they can smell the warm-blooded mammal in the Transit down there on the ground, so who's to blame the little fellows for abseiling down on their webs and crawling into bed with me?


I suppose it is fair enough that sometimes they might wake up hungry for a midnight snack, but I don't sense any great malice in their actions. They have so far kept away from some sensitive zones, so I'll abide with the status quo and try to keep it friendly between us two-leggeds and those eight-leggeds.

That, incidentally, is why the green sulo bin is now there on the hardstand in a prominent place, not very pretty for a place to stick a rubbish bin (trash bin). When I had it out the back behind the tree, away from sight, and I would walk out to empty some rubbish (trash) at night, I would walk into so many large spiders' webs that I figured it would save them having to rebuild their webs or go hungry if I just moved the bin to a place where the spiders know I am always walking to and from the van, so that is the story of the Spiders of Brunswick Junction.

They love oak trees and they don't bite you where you don't want them to if you don't break their nightly dinner webs and make them angry. Now that's a perfectly rational Christmas thought, if I do say so myself. ;-)



* Big Black Giant Electric Bicycle.
 

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Thanks for the photo tour of your caravan park / corner of the world. Love the pictures!

Merry Christmas, Seano!
 
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